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How to find your relatives in

Lithuania

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8 steps to a successful
genealogy search in Lithuania

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Are you interested in finding out whether you have relatives in Lithuania? Or finding
where your ancestors lived? It is getting much easier to do Lithuanian genealogy and
family history searches. Just follow these 8 steps.

1) Join a discussion group on the Web.

A good place to start is by spending time on one of the Lithuania genealogy groups on
the Internet. Here are two very good discussion groups.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LithuanianGenealogy/

http://www.network54.com/Forum/5317/

There are many helpful people on these sites, and there are some that are true experts
in Lithuania genealogy. There are few basic questions about family history that they
cannot answer.

2) Browse the excellent Lithuanian genealogy website from the


Lithuanian Global Genealogical Society.

http://www.lithuaniangenealogy.org/

3) Be clear about the types of records available in Lithuania.

Most records of births, marriages, and deaths originated in local churches. Copies of
those records have been moved to a central location, the Lithuanian Historical
Archives in Vilnius. Some churches still have their own records, but many do not.
Getting material from churches can be very hit or miss. Some churches can produce
more than you would have thought possible and others will have nothing, or will
never respond.

4) Answer the three key facts for a search in Lithuanian records:


Who? Where? and When?

All successful genealogical records searches in Lithuania begin with three key facts.
If one fact is missing, the search is very unlikely to be productive. You will need: (1)
a name of a person, with a good (but not necessarily perfect) spelling in Lithuanian;
(2) a village, town, parishes or city in Lithuania where the person was born, married
or died; and (3) a date for the birth, marriage or death; the date need not be 100%
accurate, but it must be reasonably close to the actual event.

5) Use online tools to find the correct spelling of the town or village.

One of the best online sources for village and town names is

http://www.jewishgen.org/Communities/LocTown.asp

A good map source is

http://www.maps.lt/en/

6) Consider using the Lithuanian Historical Archives.

Usually you can get good results through the National Archives, either through the
Archives staff or through a private researcher. Unfortunately, there is no massive
index at the Archives; the record books cover only relatively small local areas. And
the searches are done in books, not on computers or microfilm. For a generation-wide
search, for example, it will typically be done book-by-book, which can take a while.

The Archives is often very backed up. A three-year delay in doing a generational
search is not uncommon. The results are good, however.

Here is the address for the Archives. You can write in English.

Historical State Archives of Lithuania


Gerosios Vilties 10
2015 Vilnius
Lithuania

Telephone: 370 (2) 65 22 54

7) For quick results, hire a private researcher.


A good private researcher will use the books that are available in the National
Archives and will have access to other materials as well. Because private researchers
can control the volume of their caseload, they typically produce their results in a just
one to three months depending on the scope of the search.

There are three or four good private researchers in Lithuania. Two key elements are
finding someone with a good command of English and finding a person who is
prompt in responding to emails and letters.

The discussion groups listed in paragraph 1 above can provide you with information
about various researchers.

One researcher who has an excellent reputation is Vilius Vaseikis.

His website is at www.LithuaniaVisits.com.

Mr. Vaseikis can be reached at vilius@LithuaniaVisits.com. His clients report that


he is very honest and extremely diligent. And they report that he has a very good
relationship with the Archives.

There is a good recommendation for Mr.Vaseikis at

http://www.scribd.com/doc/5392305/Family-History-Tours-in-Lithuania-from-
LithuaniaVisitscom-Recommendation

8) Consider the cost of a search in Lithuania.

How much will it cost to do a genealogical search in Lithuania? The cost of course
varies depending on the scope of the search and the degree of difficulty of the search.
If you have all of the necessary information - - name, date and place - - a single
relevant document such as a birth certificate can be located, translated and reproduced
for less than $100.

If you want a generational search - - for example, all of your grandfather’s brothers
and sisters and their spouses and children, that type of search will likely run between
$500 and $800.

You can help control the cost of your search by doing a good deal of background
work. This includes getting information from other living relatives and searching in
your national immigration and census records.

But the most important point is that the path to a good, rewarding search for your
Lithuanian relatives is now very well defined. Most people who start into these
family history searches find valuable information on that most fundamental of
questions, “Where did I come from?”

Good luck with your search!


Jonas